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We are looking for individuals who want to be leaders and innovators in the world of pharmaceutical sciences.

If you are interested in pharmaceutical sciences, you should start your preparation as early as possible.

  • In your high school and undergraduate years, challenge yourself in the advanced science courses.
  • Gain research experience.
  • As an undergraduate student, explore opportunities to work with faculty members on publications and presentations at professional conferences.

To be eligible for admission to the PhD in pharmaceutical sciences program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, students must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree (based on a four-year curriculum) or its international equivalent with an accredited institution, with a standard collegiate curriculum in pharmacy, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, zoology, or an allied field. Advanced professional degrees that do not require a bachelor’s degree, for example a PharmD, are also accepted.
  • An average grade of B (cumulative GPA 3.0) or better.

Application Process

All applications to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s PhD in pharmaceutical sciences program must be submitted through the UNC Graduate School.

Application deadline is November 28.

Applicants can indicate only one choice on their application for their Division of interest or specialization. Applicants should also describe this choice in their statement of purpose.

Note: You can begin your graduate studies in biological or biomedical sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill without initially committing to a specific program through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP). The BBSP acts as a common portal through which students begin their graduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. Students admitted through the BBSP initially have no commitment to any specific PhD program. At the end of the first year, students select a thesis research lab and join a PhD program or department (usually one of the programs in which their faculty preceptor is a member).

All applications to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s PhD in pharmaceutical sciences program must be submitted through the UNC Graduate School.

You will create an account for your application, after which you will select “Graduate” and “Degree Seeking” from the drop-down menus.  On the Program of Study page, select “Pharmaceutical Sciences” as the major and “Doctor of Philosophy” as the selected degree.  On the Area of Interest page, select your target division under Area of Interest 1:

  • If you are interested in drug discovery, select Chemical Biology & Medicinal Chemistry.
  • If you are interested in drug delivery, select Pharmacoengineering & Molecular Pharmaceutics.
  • If you are interested in drug optimization, select Pharmacotherapy & Experimental Therapeutics.
  • If you are interested in patient outcomes, select Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy.

Note: If you decide to apply through the BBSP,  on the Program of Study page, select “Biological and Biomedical Sciences” as the major and “Doctor of Philosophy” as the selected degree.  On the Area of Interest page, select areas of interest including as many of the following as interest you:

  • Chemical Biology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Drug Delivery
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Toxicology
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Selected applicants will be contacted to participate in a telephone/video conference interview with a faculty member.  Telephone/Video Conference interviews are usually scheduled in December and last for twenty minutes.

Selected applicants will be invited to a second interview.  During this time you will meet faculty members, current students, tour our facilities and get a chance to learn a little about Chapel Hill.  Second interviews take place over the course of a weekend (Friday – Saturday) and are usually held in late January/early February.

Being admitted to the Graduate School does not imply that you will receive financial assistance of any kind. The awarding of financial assistance is a separate decision.

  • A current e-mail address (the Graduate School only uses e-mail to communicate with applicants)
  • Nonrefundable $95.00 application fee*
    • *Application fee waivers are available for ten groups of domestic applicants through the UNC Graduate School. For more information on the eligibility requirements and application process for fee waivers, please click here (link to, application fee scholarships are available from the Eshelman School of Pharmacy for applicants who we met at ABRCMS or SACNAS, are from populations that are underrepresented in Pharmaceutical Sciences or are from a disadvantaged background as defined by the NIH (link to To apply for a fee scholarship, please e-mail with your name, a statement requesting a fee scholarship, and a short description of how you meet the requirements for a fee scholarship.
  • Three current letters of recommendation: When filling out the Graduate School application, applicants will be asked to submit the e-mail addresses of the recommenders, who will then receive an e-mail with information for logging into the system to submit their letters.
  • Transcripts
  • GRE test scores are not required.
  • Statement of Purpose. To assist in the evaluation of your application, please provide a concise personal statement including the following information.
  1. Why do you wish to pursue graduate study in pharmaceutical sciences?
  2. Why do you wish to engage in graduate study in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
  3. What are your reasons for selecting your choice of Division (i.e. area of interest or specialization)?
  4. What are your previous research experiences? Why was the work conducted? What did you accomplish? How did the experience inform your decision to pursue a PhD?
  5. What do you offer that will enrich our graduate program?  Please include factors such as:
    • Work, teaching, or other life experiences
    • Meaningful events that have influenced your life and career choices
    • Communication abilities
    • Problem-solving skills
    • Are you a leader, follower, or team player?
    • History of overcoming challenges or disadvantages
  6. If possible, please identify the specific research areas in which you plan to focus your graduate studies. Are there particular faculty members with whom you would like to work?

For application questions, please consult the Graduate School’s application instructions or contact contact

Applications from non-U.S. applicants are processed in the same way as those from U.S. applicants except for the following:

  1. If a student is sponsored, the sponsor (e.g., the U.S. Government, private foundation, home government, university programs) must clearly establish its financial responsibility and issue the necessary immigration documents for the student.
  2. In cases where the student is supported by private funds or has received a teaching or research assistantship, the necessary certificate of eligibility is issued by the Graduate School.
  3. Students who plan to use personal funds to finance their education must provide the University with verification that the necessary funds are available.
  4. A financial certificate must be completed by each international applicant only if they are offered admission.
  5. Most foreign applicants must provide proof of English-language proficiency by receiving acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants from countries where English is the language of instruction or those who have received a degree from an accredited university in the United States or from a university where English is the sole language of instruction do not have to submit TOEFL scores. The required minimum total score on the internet-based TOEFL equals 90. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted to demonstrate English-language proficiency. The minimum score on the IELTS exam is 7. Exam results older than 2 years are not accepted.